Tuesday, March 18, 2014

52 Ancestors: #11 ~ William Barker Engle ~ The Other Bachelor Brother

This is part of the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" Challenge begun by Amy Johnson Crow, author of the blog No Story Too Small. 

In last week's 52 Ancestors post, I told you about Charles Albert Engle, who was Mary Albertina Engle's twin brother. In that post, I mentioned that Charles and his brother William, lived together for about 20 years. I also said I would tell you about William in a future post. So, today I'd like to introduce you to William Barker Engle.

William Barker Engle Letterhead

But, before I tell you about William, I'd like to share the top portion of a letter written by him. That's his signature above "Conservator of Estates." This letter was found in his father's Civil War pension file. William had written to the Veterans Administration in Washington D.C. after the death of his mother, Sarah Amanda (Waterman) Engle. I'll share the entire letter in a future post. It's quite interesting. This letter was dated January 9, 1940. This letterhead is interesting because it tells us a little about William's occupation. But, before we get into that, let's start at the beginning.

William was born on 23 September 1867 in Marion, Morgan, Ohio to his parents, Richard Engle and Sarah Amanda Waterman. He was the fifth of seven children born to Richard and Sarah.

In 1876,1 William and his family moved from Ohio to Iowa. And in the 1880 Census,2 we find William living with his parents and siblings in Barclay, Black Hawk, Iowa. At that time, William was 12 years old. He was attending school, along with his older sister, Mary, and younger brother, Edwin. His older brother, Charles, was helping his father, who was a farmer.

Sometime before 1895, William's parents moved from Iowa to South Dakota. Richard and Sarah Engle were found in the 1895 South Dakota State Census.3 They were living in Willow Lake Township in Brule County. But, William was not living with them at this time. Neither were any of his siblings. I'm not sure where William and his siblings were in 1895.

Thankfully, William showed up again in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census.4 He was living alone at 216 East 5th Street in East Waterloo, Black Hawk, Iowa, which is only about a block from the Cedar River. This is a map showing a portion of East Waterloo as it appears today. And that pin shows William's address in the 1900 census. Thank you GoogleMaps for this image.

William was single at the time the 1900 census was taken. Also, this is the first census that states William's occupation. He was listed as an Insurance Agent (Life). It appears that he worked in the insurance industry for most of his life.

By 1910, William had moved west and was living with his widowed mother, Sarah. Sarah had moved to California about a year earlier.1 In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census,5 William was 42 years old, single, and living with his mother at 815 Park Avenue in South Pasadena, Los Angeles, California. Again, William's occupation was listed as an insurance agent.

By 1920, William's unmarried brother, Charles, joined him and his mother in California. And in the 1920 6 and 1930 7 U. S. Federal Censuses, William and his brother, Charles, were living with their mother, Sarah, at 1308 Marengo Avenue in South Pasadena, Los Angeles, California.

In the 1920 census, William's occupation was listed as "Insurance" and the industry was listed as "Life." William's occupation was still listed as Insurance in the 1930 census, but the industry had changed to real estate.

In the 1940 U.S. Federal Census 8 William and his brother, Charles, were still living at the same address in South Pasadena, but their mother had passed away in 1939. Now, they had two boarders living with them. By the time the 1940 census was taken, William's occupation had changed slightly. He was still in the real estate industry, but his occupation was listed as a salesman.

Sadly, I don't have a picture of William. But I do have his signature, which is included in the letterhead at the top of this post. And personally, I love to see the signatures of my ancestors and others in my family tree.

William Barker Engle Letterhead

Like his brother Charles, William remained a bachelor his entire life. He and Charles lived in the same house for about 20 years. It was at this house that Charles passed away in 1946. William passed away on 1 June 1950 in Rural Puente, Los Angeles County, California. This information was taken from his death certificate. I will be sharing William's death certificate in a future post.

William and Charles Engle Grave Marker

William and his brother Charles share a grave marker. They are both buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Los Angeles, California.

Thanks for reading!


© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

1 Sarah's Obituary
2 Year: 1880; Census Place: Barclay, Black Hawk, Iowa; Roll: 327; Family History Film: 1254327; Page: 358A; Enumeration District: 041; Image: 0338.
3 Ancestry.com. South Dakota, State Census, 1895 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: Data indexed from images from the South Dakota State Archives microfilm collection. Sheet 3. No. 71 and 72.
4 Year: 1900; Census Place: East Waterloo, Black Hawk, Iowa; Roll: 418; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0013; FHL microfilm: 1240418.
5 Year: 1910; Census Place: South Pasadena, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_87; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 0347; FHL microfilm: 1374100. Line 61.
6 Year: 1920; Census Place: South Pasadena, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T625_119; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 614; Image: 975. Dwelling No. 107. Line 48.
7 Year: 1930; Census Place: South Pasadena, Los Angeles, California; Roll: 175; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 1519; Image: 398.0; FHL microfilm: 2339910. Dwelling No. 332. Line 17.
8 Year: 1940; Census Place: Pasadena, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T627_243; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 19-514. Visited No. 231. Line 14.


  1. For me there is something satisfying and reassuring about seeing an ancestor in the same job throughout his life. When jobs change drastically every 10 years, I start imagining possible reasons -- was it the economy? was he just not grounded? what?

    I like the double periods in William's signature.

    1. HI Wendy,

      Yes, I can see what you're saying about the employment situation of our ancestors. And William's signature is an interesting one. I don't think I've ever seen the double periods in a signature like that before. Very unique, indeed! Thanks for stopping by!




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